Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Harmonic Leaders Allow the Impossible to Become Possible

I am a firm believer in the notion that thought is creative. If you can’t think it, you can’t be or achieve it. The Harmonic Leader knows the importance of creating a place where it is safe for everyone to think about that which is not normally considered in the realm of all potential possibilities. In other words, it’s okay to dream out loud!! Creating an environment and the opportunity in which everyone feels free and safe to “super size their dreams and aspirations” as well as the vision and goals of the organization, is the only way you can achieve the impossible. The Harmonic Leader knows that the only reason anything is impossible is because someone hasn’t yet dreamed it up. However, before one can understand what it means to create the opportunity for people to live in and even thrive in this “space of impossibility”, one must first understand what a leader must do to evoke in others the desire to dream.

In one of the books I read, “Coaching for Leaders,” (Goldsmith, Lyons, Freas, 2000) it states that the ultimate judgment of a leader is not about how they acquire and use power but how they relinquish it. In other words, a leader must be willing to give power away in order to be successful. By giving away power to the organization and its people, the leader enables them to use that power to create the impossible. The paradox implied is that as a leader gives power away; they actually become more powerful because when power is given away to others it actually energizes and mobilizes them to act. With an understanding of the paradox of power, the possibility exists for the leader to achieve breakthrough thinking, to think of the possible within the impossible. That means, for the leader, they must be willing to say farewell to being the “superstar” and the “one with all the answers” and hello to creating and leveraging the “dream team” made of impossibility thinkers and doers ready to create breakthrough success.  There is no question that when a leader trusts and gives his or her power and energy away to an organization, they in turn empower their organization to seek and achieve greater success.   It is through this relinquish of power that the opportunity for breakthrough thinking and the achievement of the impossible exists.  When one knows they not only have the responsibility to achieve a certain outcome but the power to make it happen, they have all the right ingredients for creating the impossible.

In the absence of giving the gift of power, leaders may find themselves in a struggle to lead effectively. They soon then realize that the opposite is true as well. For example, I once worked for a leader that people would say “sucked the energy out of the room” every time they engaged with their team and the organization. It was their show; they gave the orders and people where expected to perform as told. To no ones surprise, over time the organization was drained, morale was at an all time low and overall organizational performance took a turn for the worse.

One must also be careful because old leadership patterns have a tendency to play over and over and over again until there is disruption. Therefore, it is important for leaders to identify ways to interrupt old patterns while continuing to open up new ways of thinking as a leader . Key to being able to break old patterns is understanding that as a leader, they possess within themselves, everything they need to break old patterns, resolve their conflicts and chart a new path. It was John P. Morgan who stated that “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Becoming a Harmonic Leader means understanding the need to let go of old patterns and embrace new ways of leading. They know they don’t have to accept the fate traditional leadership has imposed upon them but instead they have the opportunity to create their own fate, their own new reality about leadership going forward. All they need to do is decide.

As I prepared to write this blog, I ran across some new and old quotes that I found spoke to the “art of making the impossible possible”. I hope you enjoy them!!

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our belief about who we are.” - Anthony Robbins

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” - Walt Disney

“I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist.” – Max Lerner

“Let your imagination release your imprisoned possibilities.” – Robert Schuller

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